Diversity in the workplace? Break the language barrier first
We live in a multicultural society – one that's filled with people of every age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religious and political belief. Yet, sometimes, when we look around our places of work, we only see one or two cultures and a limited range of backgrounds represented. However, when we diversify our workplaces, we not only gain access to new perspectives and ideas, but it can open doors for us personally, and professionally, that we may not have ever known existed.
That's not to say that creating a multicultural office will be easy, in fact when it comes to language diversity, it can pose some real challenges. But the benefits of diversity far outweigh the challenges – and can make your office, and your business, stronger. So, let's take a look at some of those benefits, and how technology can help you overcome the language barrier.
The Benefits of Diversity
- Diversity leads to innovation, which leads to growth. Research by McKinsey & Company, shows that "companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians," and "companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians." According to the study, greater diversity doesn't always translate into greater profit, but McKinsey & Company suggests that a more diverse workplace is better able to "foster ideas and innovation, and that same innovation then drives success."
- You're better equipped to serve your clients. Whether you own a small business that focuses on your local community, or you're ready to expand internationally, when you have a diverse workforce, you can better serve all of your clients – current, and future. After all, uniquely diverse skillsets, employees that can speak other languages, and a team that understands different cultures and life experiences, can all add up and help you build an organization that can speak to a wide range of subjects, and provide astute, appropriate, and culturally sensitive service at every level.
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- You'll gain access to an entirely new talent pool. Skilled labor shortages are growing on a global scale. And out of 30 countries surveyed by global recruiting firm Hays PLC, Canada, Japan, the U.S., and Germany all rank among the top 10 places where companies are experiencing a talent mismatch. Fortunately, some of the pains felt by those experiencing the "gap" can be alleviated by casting a wider net and hiring those who may be immigrants, new residents of the country, or even live half a world away, but have the skills you need to make your business thrive.
- Your talent pool will expand, even in your own city. According to a survey by Glassdoor, roughly "two-thirds of those surveyed say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers," which means that no matter where your talent pool is located, it's fair to say almost any candidate will consider your company's diversity before accepting an offer.
Although the benefits of diversity are great, there are also some hurdles that every organization will face. Fortunately, translation technology can solve many of the issues that may arise, and can go a long way toward making your company more inclusive, more creative, and stronger. Some solutions to look for include:
- Built-in text translators: Some popular word-processing programs allow users to translate text-based documents into dozens of languages. This way, readers can review information in their native language for better comprehension, which leads to more valuable contributions.
- Video conferencing with translation services: You won't need a live translator in order to host meetings that everyone can understand and participate in if you choose a video conferencing solution with real-time translation services included. Built for seamless communication, these tools translate the spoken word in real time into text in users' native languages, which improves comprehension and makes it easier for all members of your team to participate and contribute.
- Group collaboration software with voice and text translation services: This emerging technology gives everyone on your team the opportunity to translate and work on documents in their native language in the same space. In addition, it also allows team members to communicate clearly with each other via text and/or voice messaging.
Creating a more diverse workplace that better reflects our multicultural society won't happen overnight, but it's well worth the effort. And with the right tools in place, it can be simple, seamless, and incredibly rewarding – for your business and your team.